A recap of some of the past week’s scenes, sightings and stories from across the Eastside.
An Elysian Valley couple in their 60s have been sentenced to federal prison for acting as so-called secretaries for the man's brother, an imprisoned Mexican Mafia member. Thomas Gonzales, 60, and Gloria Valerio, 66 were found guilty in March of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Gonzales also was found guilty of making a false statement to a law enforcement officer. Gonzales was sentenced Monday to 5 1/2 years in prison. Valerio was sentenced to five years. The two acted as intermediaries for imprisoned members of the Mexican Mafia prison gang and associates on the street. Secretaries often are not gang members themselves and have normal jobs. Valerio worked as an insurance analyst and Gonzales was a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning technician.
Five of the Democratic candidates for president in 2020 appeared at Cal State LA last weekend. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, former U.S. Housing Secretary Julián Castro, billionaire businessman and philanthropist Tom Steyer and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris participated in the campus’s 2019 Democratic Presidential Forum on Latino Issues. Buttigieg said he would propose investing $430 billion in housing in the U.S. Sanders confirmed that his Medicare for All plan would cover undocumented immigrants, while Castro emphasized his support for DACA and comprehensive immigration reform. Steyer said he would make sure the U.S. honors the rights of asylum seekers, Harris said she plans to offer free community college, debt-free college, and loan forgiveness for people or families earning less than $100,000 a year. She would also require student loans be interest free. Cal State L.A.
A man convicted of killing a Silver Lake handyman and cutting off his left hand before fleeing to Mexico more than a decade ago has been sentenced to 50 years to life in state prison. Jurors found Machain guilty Oct. 9 of first-degree murder for the Oct. 8, 2008, shooting of Cesar Valenzuela, 44, of South Gate, who had been hired to do maintenance and repairs by the owner of a triplex in the 1400 block of Silver Lake Boulevard. The victim was shot at least three times and his left hand -- which was never found -- was cut off inside the home. His body was found five days later in a bathroom. The motive for the killing was unclear. The Eastsider
The driver allegedly involved in the deadly July 25 crash Figueroa Street and Pasadena Avenue has been arrested, and is facing a possible murder charge. Police say Jeremy Espinosa of Highland Park, 18, was driving recklessly while under the influence of drugs and alcohol when he crashed into a pole at about 2 am, killing 18-year-old passenger Eddie Sanchez. The Eastsider
One person was killed and another wounded in a shooting near a Mariachi Plaza bar last weekend. KTLA reports the shooting was connected to a fight that spilled out of a bar. Two suspects ran from the scene while the two male victims were taken to a hospital, where one - 40-year-old Alejandrino Bautista of Los Angeles - was pronounced dead. Last Sunday's shooting means that a dozen people have been killed in Boyle Heights this year, according to the L.A. Times homicide report. The Eastsider
The Echo Park Film Center is celebrating its 18th anniversary this weekend. The center was founded by Paolo Davanzo and Ken Fountain "in the hopes of creating a grass-roots organization that would allow neighborhood families and the area’s resident hipsters to share a mutual love and fascination for the movies, the L.A. Times reported back in 2002, shortly after the center opened. Echo Park Film Center
Maebe A. Girl, who claims to be the first drag queen elected to public office in California, has qualified for the primary election ballot to run against the 28th U.S. Congressional District Rep. Adam Schiff. Girl, who was elected to the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council Governing Board last spring, told the Ledger she submitted several hundred signatures to qualify for the March 3 ballot. She only needed 60. Los Feliz Ledger
An Indian sports bar named Pijja Palace is slated to replace the Silver Lake foot clinic on Sunset Boulevard that once sported the famous Happy Foot/Sad Foot sign. The Sunset Foot Clinic has moved to a new location on Beverly Boulevard near Virgil Avenue while the old sign now rests at the Y-Que Trading Post in Los Feliz. Eater L.A.
Musicians in Boyle Heights on Tuesday celebrated the yearly anniversary of Mariachi Plaza - this time, the 30th anniversary. It’s here where, in a normal, these musicians in traditional mariachi suits vie for gigs. On Tuesday, however, they dropped the competition and performed together around the altar to Santa Cecilia. L.A. Times
Highland Park native Billie Eilish has been nominated for six Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Album of the Year. She's the youngest artist to be nominated in the Grammy's four major categories. But she's not the only Grammy nominee in the family - her 22-year-old brother, producer and co-writer Finneas O’Connell, was also nominated in five categories. "BETWEEN ME & MY BROTHER ITS 11 NOMINATIONS 😵😵😵, Eilish posted on Instagram. "thank u grammyyys this is an honor." Rolling Stone
Three possible plans have been released for using the Silver Lake and Hyperion reservoirs as a public space: "Island Overlooks" maximizes the protected wetland habitat and has the most area set aside for a promenade/farmer’s market; "Active Edges," as the name inplies, has the largest amount of active spaces; and "Blended Spaces" is called the “most ecologically immersive” of the three plans. Members of the public who want to give feedback on the concepts are asked to fill out an online questionnaire before the deadline on December 1. The Eastsider
Residents of the Garvanza neighborhood in Highland Park had a front row seat to the filming of scenes from "Ford vs Ferrari," when the cast and crew showed up in August 2018 and turned a section of the neighborhood into a backdrop for the approximately $100 million film. Rows of vintage cars filled the parking lot by the Hi-Ho Market. Universal Complete Auto Repair was turned into a 1960s-era repair shop called Ken Miles Limited. And Christian Bale and Matt Damon staged a fight at the corner of Meridian Street and Avenue 63. The director wanted a location where a character's family home could be shown across the street from an auto repair shop. The Eastsider
Profiles of five of the major candidates for the City Council seat in District 14, which is being vacated by José Huizar. This includes backgrounds on Kevin de León, Mónica Garcia, Cyndi Otteson, Jamie Tijerina, Marcus Lovingood, and Hal Bastian, as well as some of the issues in the the race, such as homelessness and, obversely, housing development.L.A. Magazine
A major fire in East Hollywood tore through an abandoned building Friday night that once housed a medical clinic, and it took firefighters nearly two hours to extinguish the flames. The building at 1200 N. Vermont Ave. had also been the site of a previous fire. There were no reports of injuries and the cause of the fire was under investigation. The Eastsider
Heather Repenning of Los Feliz has been nominated by Mayor Eric Garcetti to serve on the Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors. Repenning's appointment comes about six months after she lost to Jackie Goldberg in the District 5 school board race. She has long-standing ties to Garcetti, having worked for him as director of external affairs and as one of his appointees on the Board of Public Works. If her appointment is confirmed by the City Council, Repenning would replace outgoing board member and Silver Lake resident Glen Dake. Eric Garcetti
The 82-year-old Echo Park man who went missing on Monday has been found and reunited with his family, says the LAPD. Seang Hoc, who is suffering from Alzheimer's, was found by police in Atwater Village, his family said in a posting on NextDoor.